Last year at a conference in London I was told by someone that Google Maps’ John Hanke was changing roles and that Marissa Mayer had taken over Local. The latter was obviously proven out by very public announcements. An article in Forbes now confirms Hanke’s role as the head of a new Google “entrepreneurial lab” focused on new products and user experiences associated with “mobile, local, and social information.”
The article says that Hanke will remain involved with Google Earth but will focus on this new product “incubator”:
Hanke, one of the more significant leaders in Google, said he’ll remain an advisor to Google Earth, which is under senior executive Marissa Mayer, and run directly by Brian McClendon, who was the head of engineering at Keyhole, the company Hanke started that became the core Google Earth and Maps since its purchase in 2004.
At a time when Google is losing key people to Facebook and elsewhere — Chrome Czar Sundar Pichai is reportedly being recruited by Twitter — it’s significant that Hanke is staying to lead what appears to be an important product development effort for the company.
Meanwhile Facebook Effect author David Kirkpatrick does a sort of profile/overview of Google’s “Doyenne of Local” Marissa Mayer and her new role at Google. The most interesting part of the article is Mayer’s quote about Google’s need to get social right and her thinking about the major categories or “platforms” of the Internet:
“We ultimately know we need to get social right,” [Mayer] conceded. “If you think about the Web, there are four key platforms—search, video, mobile, and social. Google has done really well in three of those four. And we haven’t gotten social right yet. But we do need the context of who your friends are and who you know. I think there are various ways we can work towards that.”
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- Google: Local Is Job One